Senate Democrats Under Pressure from Republicans to Stop Chinese, Russian Diplomats from Voting in D.C. Elections

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 7: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and DSSC
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are under pressure to prevent a Washington, DC, law from taking effect that would allow foreign diplomats, including from China and Russia, as well as illegal aliens to vote in the district’s local elections.

In October 2022, the D.C. City Council voted 12-1 to advance a law to allow foreign nationals, regardless of whether they have visas, green cards, or are illegally in the United States, to vote in local elections such as school board and mayoral races.

Perhaps most significantly, the law gives the right to vote in local elections to foreign diplomats and others that work at embassies of foreign governments including China and Russia, as noted by the Washington Post, the New Republic, and the Wall Street Journal:

There’s nothing in this measure to prevent employees at embassies of governments that are openly hostile to the United States from casting ballots,” the Washington Post reported. A writer at the lefty New Republic agreed with that assessment: “A Russian diplomat could live their entire life in Moscow or St. Petersburg, take a job as a cultural attaché at Russia’s D.C. Embassy in August 2024, move into their new apartment that September, and cast a ballot in D.C.’s local elections that November.” [Emphasis added].

Last month, House Republicans and 42 House Democrats voted to block the D.C. law from taking effect. Now, sources close to Senate Republicans said they are looking to pass an identical resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) sometime before March 14 when the law’s 30-day review period ends.

Even if Senators fail to pass the resolution within the 30-day review period, though, Congress still has the power to invalidate the law at any time and refuse funding for D.C. officials to implement the law.

In particular, Senate sources said they are starting a pressure campaign on Senate Homeland Security Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI), as well as many of the committee’s swing state Democrats like Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) along with Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), who caucuses with Democrats, to have them approve Cotton’s resolution out of committee which would force a vote on the Senate floor.

Senate Republicans, if Peters fails to act on the issue in committee, are also reviewing an option to hold up certain bills sought by Democrats until a vote is held for the resolution.

In February, President Joe Biden said he supports the D.C. law that would give foreign diplomats at the Chinese and Russian embassies the ability to vote in local elections.

“For far too long, the more than 700,000 residents of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” his office wrote in a memo. “This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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